BUYER: Mark Foster
SELLER: Maurice Benard
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 4,637 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: This one’s for all the music hipsters and indie-pop aficionados out there who—like Your Mama—were swept up in the viral video cyclone that developed and raged over the last couple of years around a catchy little ditty called Pumped Up Kicks.
The song, which has a much darker lyric than its bubbly beat might suggest, first showed up on the You Tube in 2010 and quickly made its way to commercial radio where it shot up the charts in 2011. In a prime example of how social media affects and, arguably, shapes and even dominates the dissemination and digestion of art, culture and, even more so, pop culture, Pumped up Kicks has been remixed and remixed and remixed to death, hunties. To. Death. Key of Awesome did an awesome parody with Ducked Up Lips and bazillions of professional, au courant singers like Karmin—not to mention an army bedroom performers like Lizzy Land and Angelika Eide—gave the song their own spin. Miracles of Modern Science did it with classical string instruments and this young gal did it with a banjo. A slow moving but addictive video of a lithe young dancer doin’ his thang to a Butch Clancy dubstep remix has already been viewed on the You Tube more than 87 million times. If you haven’t been hit by this viral music train yet, well, you must be even older and more out of touch than Your Mama. And, good night children, we’re old enough to have gray hair in places nobody wants it or ever thinks they’re gonna get it. Anyways…
Last year (2012) Pumped Up Kicks earned the smiley, shaggy-haired front man Mark Foster and his semi-eponymous trio Foster the People* a Billboard Music Award for Top Rock Song plus two Grammy nominations, one for the song and another for the band’s debut album Torches. We got it on the iTunes, puppies. We’re not ashamed.
Foster the People may not be the next Rolling Stones—or Whitesnake or whatever band makes your personal Legendary list. None the less, in just the few short years they’ve surfed and sailed the wild popularity of a single song, front man Mark Foster has earned himself enough do-re-mi to buy himself a two and some million dollar country spread nestled into a secluded cranny of the Hollywood Hills where some of his nearby neighbors include Tinseltowners like Adam Carolla and Olivia Munn.
Digital resources show the property in question was sold in late March or early April (2013) for $2,155,000 by Daytime Emmy winning soap story veteran Maurice Benard who, along with his wife, Paula, purchased the first of the two parcels that comprise the mini-ranch for $420,000 in mid-1997. The following February Mister Benard and his missus paid another $274,000 for a much larger, undeveloped adjacent parcel. Based on property records we perused and our own rudimentary calculations Mister and Missus Benard shelled out a total of $694,000 for the two lots that combined span 54,450 square feet, a figure otherwise known as 1.25 acres.
Selling the property was a long slog for Mister and Missus Benard, a very long slog indeed. As best as we can surmise from online resources, the couple had the house on and off the market numerous times at a number of prices since they first heaved the unwanted ranch-ette on to the open market in September 2008 with an in-hindsight woefully optimistic asking price of $3,599,000. Four long years later—and at least one deal down the tubes—the semi-rural property was re-listed for the umpteenth time with a significantly lower $2,399,000 price tag. Property records show it took another 8.5 months before the Benards were kissed by the real estate leprechaun and, at long last, sold their white elephant in the Hollywood Hills. The buyer appears in property records as a vexingly named trust that our impeccably well-informed informant Lucy Spillerguts tattled to Your Mama is connected to—you got it, kitty cats—Mark Foster.
A ratty-looking black top driveway arcs up to an unreasonably and unnecessarily unattractive facade. Check, children, that architectural pearl clutcher of a two-car carport the juts angrily off the front of the otherwise nearly featureless, wood-clad facade. Yeesh! Not surprisingly, listing details Your Mama managed to tease out of the internets shows the residence was originally built in 1975—the pine plank siding is quintessential mid-70s and looks great with ferns—and is currently configured with three bedrooms and three bathrooms in 4,637 square feet of interior space.
Despite the two unfortunately placed doors on either side of that carport, it’s through the Southeast Asian-looking wood and steel entry gates and down the full length of a deep, shaded veranda that one must go to find the residence’s rather reclusive front door. Wood-framed glass front doors, slate tile flooring, wood treads and wrought iron spindles on the open staircase, and a soaring, double-height exposed wood ceiling pretty much sum up the earthy materials palette found throughout the loft-like, open-concept main living spaces on the ground floor.
Wood floors run on the diagonal in the living room area that’s well lit via the sky light that pierces the pitched exposed wood ceiling. A full, trapezoidal wall of windows and sliders connects to a tatty looking courtyard-like outdoor space that, in the right hands, could be a fantastic garden lounge and dining terrace.
The floor switches to giant, square slate tiles that runs throughout a handful of flexi-use spaces—dining, den, sun room, family room, music lounge, reading nook, whatever—and right on into the cook-friendly kitchen. The kitchen is well-equipped with a center work peninsula and a bumper crop of high-grade stainless steel appliances that include a six-burner commercial-style range with built-in griddle section, and a side-by-side fridge/freezer set up. Dark raised panel cabinetry that we don’t care for is topped by mottled gray granite counter tops and, opposite the fridge freezer, there’s a lowered breakfast counter held up by a pair of disturbingly giant carved stone (or molded concrete) corbels that makes it a week bit difficult to access the inset microwave cubby.
A fully-equipped screening room—located in a space that Your Mama is pretty darn sure used to be a garage—has at least seven boxy black leather seats with built-in in drink holders in the double-wide armrests and an exterior entrance through one of those aforementioned unfortunately located doors that flank the carport.
Upstairs the pleasantly roomy master bedroom is blessed with a vaulted, exposed wood ceiling and punished with nappy-looking wall-to-wall carpeting that any sensible person would switch out before ever moving in. No shade Mister Benard, but do we really need to think about all the stuff that gets trapped in deep pile wall-to-wall carpeting…in the master bedroom? Anyways, a bank of windows and glass doors open to a private terrace that serves up an expansive if not exactly electrifying canyon view. According to an 2008 listing Your Mama teased up out of the internets the closet in the master suite is—or was—cedar lined and the attached bathroom is slathered in multi-toned slate tile with a double sink vanity, a sizable soaking tub and a separate shower space. There’s at least one other bedroom on the upper level with direct access to a private terrace and listing information indicates there’s also a “Sep. gym/maids & laundry room w/ loads of storage.”
The kitchen and family room area wrap around a small dining deck that over looks a down-sloping swathe of bougainvillea encircled open space. It’s a big ol’ dirt patch, really. There’s an over the tree tops canyon and mountain view and it seems just enough space for Mister Foster and his band mates to host a mini, backyard version of Coachella, although some of his neighbors might not be so keen about that idea.
*In addition to Mark Foster, Foster the People is composed of Mark Pontius and co-founder Cubbie Fink.
listing photos: Unlimited Style Real Estate for Hilton & Hyland